chapter  1
22 Pages

Islamic Feminisms?

The key question in this book is how the use of the Internet facilitates Muslim women’s religious dialogues. In this chapter I assess a range of literature relevant to Muslim women’s online voices, activities and experiences; this includes work about their identities, as well as their various understandings of Islam and relationship with technology. One key theme that arises is the question of Islamic feminism. Although it is a category considered unwieldy by many authors and activists, its exploration is helpful in understanding Muslim women’s struggles for the recognition of their rights. An exploration of current academic debates on gender justice and equality held by Muslim women allows a better understanding of their activities on the Internet today. Although in 2011 Muslim women are by no means a new category of Internet user, there is little existing research focusing on their online activities. The bulk of the available literature on religious online communities has not addressed the possibility that there may be something specific about this group and its online experiences. However, there is an extensive body of literature on the relationship between religion and technology. The researched contexts include online Islamic environments; online religious communities; women’s spiritual online groups. I investigate these areas in order to understand the whole context of Muslim women’s online communications; their online groups exist as a part of wider trends that have emerged on the Internet.